Washington, D.C. — The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) today announced that the organization is doubling down on advocacy for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and investing $1 million to call on Congress to permanently fund America’s best parks program.
When it permanently reauthorized LWCF earlier this year, Congress ratified the simple concept behind it: The United States should take revenues from the depletion of one public resource – offshore oil and gas – and use them to pay for the conservation of another resource: public lands, water, parks, and natural places. But over LWCF’s more than 50-year history, Congress has diverted $22 billion that was intended to go to LWCF projects and spent the money on non-conservation purposes. Congress can fulfill its promise to the nation by permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund and stop diverting the funds. That is why LCV is ramping up a campaign to push Congress to pass bipartisan legislation—H.R. 3195 and S. 1081—to provide LWCF with full, permanent, and dedicated funding, ensuring that revenues collected for LWCF actually go to conservation projects. As Congress works on an appropriations package this fall, it has an opportunity to permanently fund LWCF.
LCV’s new multifaceted campaign will utilize grassroots advocacy by our network of state LCVs, digital and print advertising, earned media, and the power of LCV’s more than 2 million members to secure permanent funding for LWCF.
The campaign kicked off this summer and is ramping up as Congress works on an appropriations package this fall. LCV’s lobby day this summer brought more than 200 people to Washington from its state LCV network to advocate for fully funding LWCF. LCV and every state LCV sponsored a recent full-color wrap advertisement of the Washington Post. And LCV has been running digital ads thanking supportive members of Congress and urging them to keep fighting to permanently fund LWCF. Images of the newspaper wrap are viewable here, here and here. Examples of digital ads include: Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-1) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA).
“The rate at which the United States is losing wild places to development is alarming,” said Gene Karpinski, LCV President. “LCV is doubling down on our efforts to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund because it is critical that we preserve more natural places and share their benefits equitably with all communities. Congress has the tools and the power to stop diverting money and permanently fund LWCF right now — let’s get it done.”
“The need to preserve nature must go hand-in-hand with sharing its benefits equitably with all communities, including addressing a history in the United States of inequitable access to green spaces in and near population centers,” said Alex Taurel, LCV Conservation Program Director. “Congress can begin to address the conservation crisis today by permanently funding LWCF, whose investments across all 50 states and nearly every county in America have preserved land and water in a natural state, supported wildlife habitat, and created ballfields and playgrounds so all communities can access the outdoors.”
This renewed push to permanently fund LWCF comes at a time when alarming new scientific reports have revealed a conservation crisis here at home and around the world. A groundbreaking study of the human footprint of the lower 48 states found that the United States is rapidly losing natural area to development — a football field sized piece of nature disappears every 30 seconds. Globally, a scientific assessment found that humans have “significantly altered” three-fourths of the planet’s lands and two-thirds of its marine environments, one environmental stressor that could lead to the extinction of approximately 1 million plant and animal species. While it will take a range of strategies to confront this conservation crisis, a growing number of scientists are recommending that countries around the world commit to preserving 30 percent of their lands and oceans by 2030 to help address the decline of natural systems. Congress can begin taking important action today by permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
# # #